Classic TV Revisited: The Streets of San Francisco

Location based 1970’s cop show  The Streets of San Francisco was filmed with great skill and intelligence. Starring Karl Malden and Michael Douglas.

Why was it so good?
Three reasons. Karl Malden, Michael Douglas and San Francisco itself. Malden and Douglas were good friends and are both Oscar winners. Malden had won for A Streetcar Named Desire. Douglas would have to wait over a decade for his.

So who was who?
Michael Douglas was Det. Insp. Steve Keller. Just out of college, he was young and intense. Karl Malden (the one with the nose!) was Lt Mike Stone. He also sported hats and a big overcoat.

But Douglas quit, didn’t he?
Yes, after two years in 1975.

To produce One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. His dad Kirk had owned the film rights and it put Douglas Jr on the road to fame and a big fortune.

Wasn’t Kojak better?
Well Streets got 13 million viewers in the ’70s. That’s not bad going. But Malden and Douglas didn’t have a catchphrase like “Who loves ya, baby”.

But they had chemistry, right?
Indeed as Malden explains: “Michael was young, vital, handsome. I didn’t have any youth, I was just the opposite. But my character had knowledge. His attitude was: ‘If you listen to me, you might just get along, son’.”

Any other famous faces appear in it?
An unknown Arnie Schwarzenegger, Tom Selleck and Don Johnson.

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.